Transitioning 2 sub-acute: a collaborative approach to improving allied health sub-acute rural and regional services.

Ms Jennifer Finch1

1Allied Health Professions’ Office of Queensland, Queensland Department Of Health, , Fortitude Valley  , Australia


Context and Aims:A novel collaboration has been forged between public allied health services and primary healthcare service providers to develop an integrated sub-acute service across agencies and geographical boundaries in central and north-west Queensland.This multi-agency, multi-site collaborative builds on work undertaken by Queensland Health to optimise allied health professionals’ scope of practice, including rural generalist training pathways and better use of assistants.

Method: The Collaborative have initiated a staged project design including:

  1. consultative development of an overarching rural and remote sub-acute framework;
  2. inter-agency patient journey process mapping using the LEAN approach
  3. development of criteria-led intake and step-down transition indicators at each phase of care; and
  4. introduction of expedited early discharge communication processes.

Results: An allied health rural and remote sub-acute framework was produced that describes the scope of sub-acute service provision, including workforce resources in different rural and remote service settings.  Patient journey mapping identified priorities for change including integrated rural-urban planning for step-down, early discharge planning and optimum utilisation of rural allied health resources to provide care closer to home. Agencies are implementing these strategies supported by collaborative work on common supporting tools such as service pathways for stroke and fractured neck of femur.

Conclusion:Strong inter-agency and rural-urban partnerships present opportunities to collaboratively redesign sub-acute services to improve patient experience and care continuity and fully capitalise on the allied health resources available in rural and remote communities.


Jenny Finch is a physiotherapist by background with a diverse range of clinical and health management experiences both in Australia and internationally, in less industrialised countries. She has an extensive background in health service development and workforce reform. Currently Jenny is working within the Queensland Department of Health Allied Health Professions’ Office and is supporting work related to the allied health expanded scope of practice workforce reform. In previous positions she has been responsible for leading strategy development for the allied health professionals at a health service and statewide level.

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